Theatre | Wikipedia audio article

Theatre | Wikipedia audio article


Theatre or theater is a collaborative form
of performing art that uses live performers, typically actors or actresses, to present
the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place,
often a stage. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations
of gesture, speech, song, music, and dance. Elements of art, such as painted scenery and
stagecraft such as lighting are used to enhance the physicality, presence and immediacy of
the experience. The specific place of the performance is also named by the word “theatre”
as derived from the Ancient Greek θέατρον (théatron, “a place for viewing”), itself
from θεάομαι (theáomai, “to see”, “to watch”, “to observe”).
Modern Western theatre comes, in large measure, from the theatre of ancient Greece, from which
it borrows technical terminology, classification into genres, and many of its themes, stock
characters, and plot elements. Theatre artist Patrice Pavis defines theatricality, theatrical
language, stage writing and the specificity of theatre as synonymous expressions that
differentiate theatre from the other performing arts, literature and the arts in general.Modern
theatre includes performances of plays and musical theatre. The art forms of ballet and
opera are also theatre and use many conventions such as acting, costumes and staging. They
were influential to the development of musical theatre; see those articles for more information.==History of theatre=====
Classical and Hellenistic Greece===The city-state of Athens is where western
theatre originated. It was part of a broader culture of theatricality and performance in
classical Greece that included festivals, religious rituals, politics, law, athletics
and gymnastics, music, poetry, weddings, funerals, and symposia.Participation in the city-state’s
many festivals—and mandatory attendance at the City Dionysia as an audience member
(or even as a participant in the theatrical productions) in particular—was an important
part of citizenship. Civic participation also involved the evaluation of the rhetoric of
orators evidenced in performances in the law-court or political assembly, both of which were
understood as analogous to the theatre and increasingly came to absorb its dramatic vocabulary.
The Greeks also developed the concepts of dramatic criticism and theatre architecture.
Actors were either amateur or at best semi-professional. The theatre of ancient Greece consisted of
three types of drama: tragedy, comedy, and the satyr play.The origins of theatre in ancient
Greece, according to Aristotle (384–322 BCE), the first theoretician of theatre, are
to be found in the festivals that honoured Dionysus. The performances were given in semi-circular
auditoria cut into hillsides, capable of seating 10,000–20,000 people. The stage consisted
of a dancing floor (orchestra), dressing room and scene-building area (skene). Since the
words were the most important part, good acoustics and clear delivery were paramount. The actors
(always men) wore masks appropriate to the characters they represented, and each might
play several parts.Athenian tragedy—the oldest surviving form of tragedy—is a type
of dance-drama that formed an important part of the theatrical culture of the city-state.
Having emerged sometime during the 6th century BCE, it flowered during the 5th century BCE
(from the end of which it began to spread throughout the Greek world), and continued
to be popular until the beginning of the Hellenistic period.No tragedies from the 6th century BCE
and only 32 of the more than a thousand that were performed in during the 5th century BCE
have survived. We have complete texts extant by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The
origins of tragedy remain obscure, though by the 5th century BCE it was institutionalised
in competitions (agon) held as part of festivities celebrating Dionysus (the god of wine and
fertility). As contestants in the City Dionysia’s competition (the most prestigious of the festivals
to stage drama) playwrights were required to present a tetralogy of plays (though the
individual works were not necessarily connected by story or theme), which usually consisted
of three tragedies and one satyr play. The performance of tragedies at the City Dionysia
may have begun as early as 534 BCE; official records (didaskaliai) begin from 501 BCE,
when the satyr play was introduced.Most Athenian tragedies dramatise events from Greek mythology,
though The Persians—which stages the Persian response to news of their military defeat
at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE—is the notable exception in the surviving drama.
When Aeschylus won first prize for it at the City Dionysia in 472 BCE, he had been writing
tragedies for more than 25 years, yet its tragic treatment of recent history is the
earliest example of drama to survive. More than 130 years later, the philosopher Aristotle
analysed 5th-century Athenian tragedy in the oldest surviving work of dramatic theory—his
Poetics (c. 335 BCE). Athenian comedy is conventionally divided
into three periods, “Old Comedy”, “Middle Comedy”, and “New Comedy”. Old Comedy survives
today largely in the form of the eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes, while Middle Comedy
is largely lost (preserved only in relatively short fragments in authors such as Athenaeus
of Naucratis). New Comedy is known primarily from the substantial papyrus fragments of
Menander. Aristotle defined comedy as a representation of laughable people that involves some kind
of blunder or ugliness that does not cause pain or disaster.In addition to the categories
of comedy and tragedy at the City Dionysia, the festival also included the Satyr Play.
Finding its origins in rural, agricultural rituals dedicated to Dionysus, the satyr play
eventually found its way to Athens in its most well-known form. Satyr’s themselves were
tied to the god Dionysus as his loyal woodland companions, often engaging in drunken revelry
and mischief at his side. The satyr play itself was classified as tragicomedy, erring on the
side of the more modern burlesque traditions of the early twentieth century. The plotlines
of the plays were typically concerned with the dealings of the pantheon of Gods and their
involvement in human affairs, backed by the chorus of Satyrs. However, according to Webster,
satyr actors did not always perform typical satyr actions and would break from the acting
traditions assigned to the character type of a mythical forest creature.===Roman theatre===Western theatre developed and expanded considerably
under the Romans. The Roman historian Livy wrote that the Romans first experienced theatre
in the 4th century BCE, with a performance by Etruscan actors. Beacham argues that they
had been familiar with “pre-theatrical practices” for some time before that recorded contact.
The theatre of ancient Rome was a thriving and diverse art form, ranging from festival
performances of street theatre, nude dancing, and acrobatics, to the staging of Plautus’s
broadly appealing situation comedies, to the high-style, verbally elaborate tragedies of
Seneca. Although Rome had a native tradition of performance, the Hellenization of Roman
culture in the 3rd century BCE had a profound and energizing effect on Roman theatre and
encouraged the development of Latin literature of the highest quality for the stage. The
only surviving Roman tragedies, indeed the only plays of any kind from the Roman Empire,
are ten dramas- nine of them pallilara- attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BCE–65 CE),
the Corduba-born Stoic philosopher and tutor of Nero.===Indian theatre===The earliest-surviving fragments of Sanskrit
drama date from the 1st century CE. The wealth of archeological evidence from earlier periods
offers no indication of the existence of a tradition of theatre. The ancient Vedas (hymns
from between 1500 and 1000 BCE that are among the earliest examples of literature in the
world) contain no hint of it (although a small number are composed in a form of dialogue)
and the rituals of the Vedic period do not appear to have developed into theatre. The
Mahābhāṣya by Patañjali contains the earliest reference to what may have been the
seeds of Sanskrit drama. This treatise on grammar from 140 BCE provides a feasible date
for the beginnings of theatre in India.The major source of evidence for Sanskrit theatre
is A Treatise on Theatre (Nātyaśāstra), a compendium whose date of composition is
uncertain (estimates range from 200 BCE to 200 CE) and whose authorship is attributed
to Bharata Muni. The Treatise is the most complete work of dramaturgy in the ancient
world. It addresses acting, dance, music, dramatic construction, architecture, costuming,
make-up, props, the organisation of companies, the audience, competitions, and offers a mythological
account of the origin of theatre. In doing so, it provides indications about the nature
of actual theatrical practices. Sanskrit theatre was performed on sacred ground by priests
who had been trained in the necessary skills (dance, music, and recitation) in a [hereditary
process]. Its aim was both to educate and to entertain. Under the patronage of royal courts, performers
belonged to professional companies that were directed by a stage manager (sutradhara),
who may also have acted. This task was thought of as being analogous to that of a puppeteer—the
literal meaning of “sutradhara” is “holder of the strings or threads”. The performers
were trained rigorously in vocal and physical technique. There were no prohibitions against
female performers; companies were all-male, all-female, and of mixed gender. Certain sentiments
were considered inappropriate for men to enact, however, and were thought better suited to
women. Some performers played characters their own age, while others played ages different
from their own (whether younger or older). Of all the elements of theatre, the Treatise
gives most attention to acting (abhinaya), which consists of two styles: realistic (lokadharmi)
and conventional (natyadharmi), though the major focus is on the latter.Its drama is
regarded as the highest achievement of Sanskrit literature. It utilised stock characters,
such as the hero (nayaka), heroine (nayika), or clown (vidusaka). Actors may have specialised
in a particular type. Kālidāsa in the 1st century BCE, is arguably considered to be
ancient India’s greatest Sanskrit dramatist. Three famous romantic plays written by Kālidāsa
are the Mālavikāgnimitram (Mālavikā and Agnimitra), Vikramuurvashiiya (Pertaining
to Vikrama and Urvashi), and Abhijñānaśākuntala (The Recognition of Shakuntala). The last
was inspired by a story in the Mahabharata and is the most famous. It was the first to
be translated into English and German. Śakuntalā (in English translation) influenced Goethe’s
Faust (1808–1832).The next great Indian dramatist was Bhavabhuti (c. 7th century CE).
He is said to have written the following three plays: Malati-Madhava, Mahaviracharita and
Uttar Ramacharita. Among these three, the last two cover between them the entire epic
of Ramayana. The powerful Indian emperor Harsha (606–648) is credited with having written
three plays: the comedy Ratnavali, Priyadarsika, and the Buddhist drama Nagananda.===Chinese theatre===The Tang dynasty is sometimes known as “The
Age of 1000 Entertainments”. During this era, Ming Huang formed an acting school known as
The Pear Garden to produce a form of drama that was primarily musical. That is why actors
are commonly called “Children of the Pear Garden.” During the dynasty of Empress Ling,
shadow puppetry first emerged as a recognized form of theatre in China. There were two distinct
forms of shadow puppetry, Pekingese (northern) and Cantonese (southern). The two styles were
differentiated by the method of making the puppets and the positioning of the rods on
the puppets, as opposed to the type of play performed by the puppets. Both styles generally
performed plays depicting great adventure and fantasy, rarely was this very stylized
form of theatre used for political propaganda. Cantonese shadow puppets were the larger of
the two. They were built using thick leather which created more substantial shadows. Symbolic
color was also very prevalent; a black face represented honesty, a red one bravery. The
rods used to control Cantonese puppets were attached perpendicular to the puppets’ heads.
Thus, they were not seen by the audience when the shadow was created. Pekingese puppets
were more delicate and smaller. They were created out of thin, translucent leather (usually
taken from the belly of a donkey).They were painted with vibrant paints, thus they cast
a very colorful shadow. The thin rods which controlled their movements were attached to
a leather collar at the neck of the puppet. The rods ran parallel to the bodies of the
puppet then turned at a ninety degree angle to connect to the neck. While these rods were
visible when the shadow was cast, they laid outside the shadow of the puppet; thus they
did not interfere with the appearance of the figure. The rods attached at the necks to
facilitate the use of multiple heads with one body. When the heads were not being used,
they were stored in a muslin book or fabric lined box. The heads were always removed at
night. This was in keeping with the old superstition that if left intact, the puppets would come
to life at night. Some puppeteers went so far as to store the heads in one book and
the bodies in another, to further reduce the possibility of reanimating puppets. Shadow
puppetry is said to have reached its highest point of artistic development in the eleventh
century before becoming a tool of the government. In the Song dynasty, there were many popular
plays involving acrobatics and music. These developed in the Yuan dynasty into a more
sophisticated form known as zaju, with a four- or five-act structure. Yuan drama spread across
China and diversified into numerous regional forms, one of the best known of which is Peking
Opera which is still popular today. Xiangsheng is a certain traditional Chinese
comedic performance in the forms of monologue or dialogue.===Post-classical theatre in the West===
Theatre took on many alternate forms in the West between the 15th and 19th centuries,
including commedia dell’arte and melodrama. The general trend was away from the poetic
drama of the Greeks and the Renaissance and toward a more naturalistic prose style of
dialogue, especially following the Industrial Revolution.Theatre took a big pause during
1642 and 1660 in England because of the Puritan Interregnum. Theatre was seen as something
sinful and the Puritans tried very hard to drive it out of their society. This stagnant
period ended once Charles II came back to the throne in 1660 in the Restoration. Theatre
(among other arts) exploded, with influence from French culture, since Charles had been
exiled in France in the years previous to his reign.
One of the big changes was the new theatre house. Instead of the type of the Elizabethan
era, such as the Globe Theatre, round with no place for the actors to really prep for
the next act and with no “theatre manners”, the theatre house became transformed into
a place of refinement, with a stage in front and stadium seating facing it. Since seating
was no longer all the way around the stage, it became prioritized—some seats were obviously
better than others. The king would have the best seat in the house: the very middle of
the theatre, which got the widest view of the stage as well as the best way to see the
point of view and vanishing point that the stage was constructed around. Philippe Jacques
de Loutherbourg was one of the most influential set designers of the time because of his use
of floor space and scenery. Because of the turmoil before this time, there
was still some controversy about what should and should not be put on the stage. Jeremy
Collier, a preacher, was one of the heads in this movement through his piece A Short
View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage. The beliefs in this paper
were mainly held by non-theatre goers and the remainder of the Puritans and very religious
of the time. The main question was if seeing something immoral on stage affects behavior
in the lives of those who watch it, a controversy that is still playing out today. The seventeenth century had also introduced
women to the stage, which was considered inappropriate earlier. These women were regarded as celebrities
(also a newer concept, thanks to ideas on individualism that arose in the wake of Renaissance
Humanism), but on the other hand, it was still very new and revolutionary that they were
on the stage, and some said they were unladylike, and looked down on them. Charles II did not
like young men playing the parts of young women, so he asked that women play their own
parts. Because women were allowed on the stage, playwrights had more leeway with plot twists,
like women dressing as men, and having narrow escapes from morally sticky situations as
forms of comedy. Comedies were full of the young and very much
in vogue, with the storyline following their love lives: commonly a young roguish hero
professing his love to the chaste and free minded heroine near the end of the play, much
like Sheridan’s The School for Scandal. Many of the comedies were fashioned after the French
tradition, mainly Molière, again hailing back to the French influence brought back
by the King and the Royals after their exile. Molière was one of the top comedic playwrights
of the time, revolutionizing the way comedy was written and performed by combining Italian
commedia dell’arte and neoclassical French comedy to create some of the longest lasting
and most influential satiric comedies. Tragedies were similarly victorious in their sense of
righting political power, especially poignant because of the recent Restoration of the Crown.
They were also imitations of French tragedy, although the French had a larger distinction
between comedy and tragedy, whereas the English fudged the lines occasionally and put some
comedic parts in their tragedies. Common forms of non-comedic plays were sentimental comedies
as well as something that would later be called tragédie bourgeoise, or domestic tragedy—that
is, the tragedy of common life—were more popular in England because they appealed more
to English sensibilities.While theatre troupes were formerly often travelling, the idea of
the national theatre gained support in the 18th century, inspired by Ludvig Holberg.
The major promoter of the idea of the national theatre in Germany, and also of the Sturm
und Drang poets, was Abel Seyler, the owner of the Hamburgische Entreprise and the Seyler
Theatre Company.Through the 19th century, the popular theatrical forms of Romanticism,
melodrama, Victorian burlesque and the well-made plays of Scribe and Sardou gave way to the
problem plays of Naturalism and Realism; the farces of Feydeau; Wagner’s operatic Gesamtkunstwerk;
musical theatre (including Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas); F. C. Burnand’s, W. S. Gilbert’s
and Oscar Wilde’s drawing-room comedies; Symbolism; proto-Expressionism in the late works of August
Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen; and Edwardian musical comedy.
These trends continued through the 20th century in the realism of Stanislavski and Lee Strasberg,
the political theatre of Erwin Piscator and Bertolt Brecht, the so-called Theatre of the
Absurd of Samuel Beckett and Eugène Ionesco, American and British musicals, the collective
creations of companies of actors and directors such as Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop,
experimental and postmodern theatre of Robert Wilson and Robert Lepage, the postcolonial
theatre of August Wilson or Tomson Highway, and Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed.===Eastern theatrical traditions===The first form of Indian theatre was the Sanskrit
theatre. It began after the development of Greek and Roman theatre and before the development
of theatre in other parts of Asia. It emerged sometime between the 2nd century BCE and the
1st century CE and flourished between the 1st century CE and the 10th, which was a period
of relative peace in the history of India during which hundreds of plays were written.
Japanese forms of Kabuki, Nō, and Kyōgen developed in the 17th century CE. Theatre
in the medieval Islamic world included puppet theatre (which included hand puppets, shadow
plays and marionette productions) and live passion plays known as ta’ziya, where actors
re-enact episodes from Muslim history. In particular, Shia Islamic plays revolved around
the shaheed (martyrdom) of Ali’s sons Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali. Secular plays
were known as akhraja, recorded in medieval adab literature, though they were less common
than puppetry and ta’ziya theatre.==Types=====
Drama===Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented
in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning “action”, which is derived from
the verb δράω, dráō, “to do” or “to act”. The enactment of drama in theatre, performed
by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a collective
form of reception. The structure of dramatic texts, unlike other forms of literature, is
directly influenced by this collaborative production and collective reception. The early
modern tragedy Hamlet (1601) by Shakespeare and the classical Athenian tragedy Oedipus
Rex (c. 429 BCE) by Sophocles are among the masterpieces of the art of drama. A modern
example is Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill (1956).Considered as a genre
of poetry in general, the dramatic mode has been contrasted with the epic and the lyrical
modes ever since Aristotle’s Poetics (c. 335 BCE)—the earliest work of dramatic theory.
The use of “drama” in the narrow sense to designate a specific type of play dates from
the 19th century. Drama in this sense refers to a play that is neither a comedy nor a tragedy—for
example, Zola’s Thérèse Raquin (1873) or Chekhov’s Ivanov (1887). In Ancient Greece
however, the word drama encompassed all theatrical plays, tragic, comic, or anything in between.
Drama is often combined with music and dance: the drama in opera is generally sung throughout;
musicals generally include both spoken dialogue and songs; and some forms of drama have incidental
music or musical accompaniment underscoring the dialogue (melodrama and Japanese Nō,
for example). In certain periods of history (the ancient Roman and modern Romantic) some
dramas have been written to be read rather than performed. In improvisation, the drama
does not pre-exist the moment of performance; performers devise a dramatic script spontaneously
before an audience.===Musical theatre===Music and theatre have had a close relationship
since ancient times—Athenian tragedy, for example, was a form of dance-drama that employed
a chorus whose parts were sung (to the accompaniment of an aulos—an instrument comparable to
the modern clarinet), as were some of the actors’ responses and their ‘solo songs’ (monodies).
Modern musical theatre is a form of theatre that also combines music, spoken dialogue,
and dance. It emerged from comic opera (especially Gilbert and Sullivan), variety, vaudeville,
and music hall genres of the late 19th and early 20th century. After the Edwardian musical
comedy that began in the 1890s, the Princess Theatre musicals of the early 20th century,
and comedies in the 1920s and 1930s (such as the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein),
with Oklahoma! (1943), musicals moved in a more dramatic direction. Famous musicals over
the subsequent decades included My Fair Lady (1956), West Side Story (1957), The Fantasticks
(1960), Hair (1967), A Chorus Line (1975), Les Misérables (1980), Into the Woods (1986),
and The Phantom of the Opera (1986), as well as more contemporary hits including Rent (1994),
The Lion King (1997), Wicked (2003), and Hamilton (2015).
Musical theatre may be produced on an intimate scale Off-Broadway, in regional theatres,
and elsewhere, but it often includes spectacle. For instance, Broadway and West End musicals
often include lavish costumes and sets supported by multimillion-dollar budgets.===Comedy===Theatre productions that use humour as a vehicle
to tell a story qualify as comedies. This may include a modern farce such as Boeing
Boeing or a classical play such as As You Like It. Theatre expressing bleak, controversial
or taboo subject matter in a deliberately humorous way is referred to as black comedy.
Black Comedy can have several genres like slapstick humour, dark and sarcastic comedy.===Tragedy===Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action
that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude: in language embellished with each
kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play;
in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation
of these emotions. Aristotle’s phrase “several kinds being found
in separate parts of the play” is a reference to the structural origins of drama. In it
the spoken parts were written in the Attic dialect whereas the choral (recited or sung)
ones in the Doric dialect, these discrepancies reflecting the differing religious origins
and poetic metres of the parts that were fused into a new entity, the theatrical drama.
Tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important
role historically in the self-definition of Western civilisation. That tradition has been
multiple and discontinuous, yet the term has often been used to invoke a powerful effect
of cultural identity and historical continuity—”the Greeks and the Elizabethans, in one cultural
form; Hellenes and Christians, in a common activity,” as Raymond Williams puts it. From
its obscure origins in the theatres of Athens 2,500 years ago, from which there survives
only a fraction of the work of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, through its singular
articulations in the works of Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Racine, and Schiller, to the
more recent naturalistic tragedy of Strindberg, Beckett’s modernist meditations on death,
loss and suffering, and Müller’s postmodernist reworkings of the tragic canon, tragedy has
remained an important site of cultural experimentation, negotiation, struggle, and change. In the
wake of Aristotle’s Poetics (335 BCE), tragedy has been used to make genre distinctions,
whether at the scale of poetry in general (where the tragic divides against epic and
lyric) or at the scale of the drama (where tragedy is opposed to comedy). In the modern
era, tragedy has also been defined against drama, melodrama, the tragicomic, and epic
theatre.===Improvisation===Improvisation has been a consistent feature
of theatre, with the Commedia dell’arte in the sixteenth century being recognised as
the first improvisation form. Popularized by Nobel Prize Winner Dario Fo and troupes
such as the Upright Citizens Brigade improvisational theatre continues to evolve with many different
streams and philosophies. Keith Johnstone and Viola Spolin are recognized as the first
teachers of improvisation in modern times, with Johnstone exploring improvisation as
an alternative to scripted theatre and Spolin and her successors exploring improvisation
principally as a tool for developing dramatic work or skills or as a form for situational
comedy. Spolin also became interested in how the process of learning improvisation was
applicable to the development of human potential. Spolin’s son, Paul Sills popularized improvisational
theatre as a theatrical art form when he founded, as its first director, The Second City in
Chicago.==Theories==Having been an important part of human culture
for more than 2,500 years, theatre has evolved a wide range of different theories and practices.
Some are related to political or spiritual ideologies, while others are based purely
on “artistic” concerns. Some processes focus on a story, some on theatre as event, and
some on theatre as catalyst for social change. The classical Greek philosopher Aristotle,
in his seminal treatise, Poetics (c. 335 BCE) is the earliest-surviving example and its
arguments have influenced theories of theatre ever since. In it, he offers an account of
what he calls “poetry” (a term which in Greek literally means “making” and in this context
includes drama—comedy, tragedy, and the satyr play—as well as lyric poetry, epic
poetry, and the dithyramb). He examines its “first principles” and identifies its genres
and basic elements; his analysis of tragedy constitutes the core of the discussion.Aristotle
argues that tragedy consists of six qualitative parts, which are (in order of importance)
mythos or “plot”, ethos or “character”, dianoia or “thought”, lexis or “diction”, melos or
“song”, and opsis or “spectacle”. “Although Aristotle’s Poetics is universally acknowledged
in the Western critical tradition”, Marvin Carlson explains, “almost every detail about
his seminal work has aroused divergent opinions.” Important theatre practitioners of the 20th
century include Konstantin Stanislavski, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Jacques Copeau, Edward Gordon Craig,
Bertolt Brecht, Antonin Artaud, Joan Littlewood, Peter Brook, Jerzy Grotowski, Augusto Boal,
Eugenio Barba, Dario Fo, Viola Spolin, Keith Johnstone and Robert Wilson (director).
Stanislavski treated the theatre as an art-form that is autonomous from literature and one
in which the playwright’s contribution should be respected as that of only one of an ensemble
of creative artists. His innovative contribution to modern acting theory has remained at the
core of mainstream western performance training for much of the last century. That many of
the precepts of his system of actor training seem to be common sense and self-evident testifies
to its hegemonic success. Actors frequently employ his basic concepts without knowing
they do so. Thanks to its promotion and elaboration by acting teachers who were former students
and the many translations of his theoretical writings, Stanislavski’s ‘system’ acquired
an unprecedented ability to cross cultural boundaries and developed an international
reach, dominating debates about acting in Europe and the United States. Many actors
routinely equate his ‘system’ with the North American Method, although the latter’s exclusively
psychological techniques contrast sharply with Stanislavski’s multivariant, holistic
and psychophysical approach, which explores character and action both from the ‘inside
out’ and the ‘outside in’ and treats the actor’s mind and body as parts of a continuum.==Technical aspects==Theatre presupposes collaborative modes of
production and a collective form of reception. The structure of dramatic texts, unlike other
forms of literature, is directly influenced by this collaborative production and collective
reception. The production of plays usually involves contributions from a playwright,
director, a cast of actors, and a technical production team that includes a scenic or
set designer, lighting designer, costume designer, sound designer, stage manager, production
manager and technical director. Depending on the production, this team may also include
a composer, dramaturg, video designer or fight director.
Stagecraft is a generic term referring to the technical aspects of theatrical, film,
and video production. It includes, but is not limited to, constructing and rigging scenery,
hanging and focusing of lighting, design and procurement of costumes, makeup, procurement
of props, stage management, and recording and mixing of sound. Stagecraft is distinct
from the wider umbrella term of scenography. Considered a technical rather than an artistic
field, it relates primarily to the practical implementation of a designer’s artistic vision.
In its most basic form, stagecraft is managed by a single person (often the stage manager
of a smaller production) who arranges all scenery, costumes, lighting, and sound, and
organizes the cast. At a more professional level, for example in modern Broadway houses,
stagecraft is managed by hundreds of skilled carpenters, painters, electricians, stagehands,
stitchers, wigmakers, and the like. This modern form of stagecraft is highly technical and
specialized: it comprises many sub-disciplines and a vast trove of history and tradition.
The majority of stagecraft lies between these two extremes. Regional theatres and larger
community theatres will generally have a technical director and a complement of designers, each
of whom has a direct hand in their respective designs.==Sub-categories and organization==
There are many modern theatre movements which go about producing theatre in a variety of
ways. Theatrical enterprises vary enormously in sophistication and purpose. People who
are involved vary from novices and hobbyists (in community theatre) to professionals (in
Broadway and similar productions). Theatre can be performed with a shoestring budget
or on a grand scale with multimillion-dollar budgets. This diversity manifests in the abundance
of theatre sub-categories, which include: Broadway theatre and West End theatre
Street theatre Community theatre
Playback theatre Dinner theater
Fringe theatre Off-Broadway and Off West End
Off-Off-Broadway Regional theatre in the United States
Summer stock theatre===
Repertory companies===While most modern theatre companies rehearse
one piece of theatre at a time, perform that piece for a set “run”, retire the piece, and
begin rehearsing a new show, repertory companies rehearse multiple shows at one time. These
companies are able to perform these various pieces upon request and often perform works
for years before retiring them. Most dance companies operate on this repertory system.
The Royal National Theatre in London performs on a repertory system.
Repertory theatre generally involves a group of similarly accomplished actors, and relies
more on the reputation of the group than on an individual star actor. It also typically
relies less on strict control by a director and less on adherence to theatrical conventions,
since actors who have worked together in multiple productions can respond to each other without
relying as much on convention or external direction.===Producing vs. presenting===
In order to put on a piece of theatre, both a theatre company and a theatre venue are
needed. When a theatre company is the sole company in residence at a theatre venue, this
theatre (and its corresponding theatre company) are called a resident theatre or a producing
theatre, because the venue produces its own work. Other theatre companies, as well as
dance companies, who do not have their own theatre venue, perform at rental theatres
or at presenting theatres. Both rental and presenting theatres have no full-time resident
companies. They do, however, sometimes have one or more part-time resident companies,
in addition to other independent partner companies who arrange to use the space when available.
A rental theatre allows the independent companies to seek out the space, while a presenting
theatre seeks out the independent companies to support their work by presenting them on
their stage. Some performance groups perform in non-theatrical
spaces. Such performances can take place outside or inside, in a non-traditional performance
space, and include street theatre, and site-specific theatre. Non-traditional venues can be used
to create more immersive or meaningful environments for audiences. They can sometimes be modified
more heavily than traditional theatre venues, or can accommodate different kinds of equipment,
lighting and sets.A touring company is an independent theatre or dance company that
travels, often internationally, being presented at a different theatre in each city.===Unions===
There are many theatre unions including: Actors’ Equity Association (for actors and stage managers),
the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), and the International Alliance of Theatrical
Stage Employees (IATSE, for designers and technicians). Many theatres require that their
staff be members of these organizations.==See also====Notes

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